Biffa Kwok is a Doctoral of Musical Arts student at the School of Music in the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the tutelage of David Perry, the leader of the Pro Arte Quartet. Kwok is a recipient of the prestigious Paul Collins fellowship. A native of Hong Kong, Kwok received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Kwok also holds a Master Degree in Violin Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music, under the tutelage of Mikhail Kopelman, former leader of the Borodin and Tokyo String Quartets.
Over the years, Kwok has received various scholarships and assistantships. A strong advocate of chamber music, Kwok actively participated in many chamber and orchestra performances including masterclasses with the Chilingirian; the Ying, and the Dover string quartet; and collaborations with many artists including Trevor Pinnock, Uroš Lajovic, Kokman Liu, Neil Varon, John Demain, Nobuko Imai and Peter Serkin.
Serbian flutist Iva Ugrčić is one of the most exciting and adventurous young flutists in the international pantheon. She has been featured as a solo artist at numerous music festivals including Flute Fest (Serbia), The Art Of Love International Music Festival (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Classic Light Music Fest (Serbia), Constantinus International Classical Music Festival (Serbia), Cecilia McDowell Festival (Wisconsin), Wisconsin Flute Festival, Miami Summer Music Festival, Atlantic Summer Music Festival, Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society Chamber Music Festival, as well as others.
As a soloist and a chamber musician, Iva Ugrčić has performed in Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Macedonia, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Romania, Greece, and the United States. In addition to her formidable work as a soloist, she is also passionate about playing in ensembles. She has performed and recorded in Europe with the Symphony Orchestra of Radio Television of Serbia, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, and the French Flute Orchestra. Since moving to the United States, Iva has performed as guest artist for the Wingra Woodwind Quintet, Vitraž Woodwind Quintet, and has performed with various orchestras including the Dubuque Symphony and La Crosse Symphony Orchestra. She currently plays with ID flute and percussion duo, and Sound Out Loud contemporary chamber music ensemble. Ms. Ugrčić has also worked as a flute educator in Belgrade, Paris, and Madison. She has performed and recorded with numerous jazz, blues and alternative music ensembles. A fearless musician, she is enthusiastic about music of all styles and nationalities.
After completing her Bachelor and Master’s degrees in 2005 at the University of Belgrade Academy of Music, Iva Ugrčić moved to Paris, where she received a full scholarship from the Albert Roussel Foundation. During three years in Paris, Ms. Ugrčić studied flute performance and chamber music at two music conservatories and worked intensely with legendary flutist Pierre-Yves Artaud and flutist George Alirol.
Iva Ugrčić’s solo album, The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi was released in September, 2014. Same year, Ms. Ugrčić was awarded the prestigious Paul Collins Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, where she is currently a candidate for a Doctorate of Musical Arts, studying with flutist Stephanie Jutt. In collaboration with pianist Thomas Kasdorf, she won the Shain Irving Duo Competition in 2015. In the same year, Ms. Ugrčić was the winner of multiple concerto competitions, performing as a soloist with the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra and Miami Summer Music Festival Symphony Orchestra. In 2016, Iva received a James R. Smith Orchestra Award for excellency and leadership.
Pedro Garcia III graduated from UW-Madison with his Masters of Music in Clarinet Performance in the spring of 2015. While at the University, Pedro performed with both the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra, led by Scott Teeple and James Smith respectively, as a principal player in both groups. He also had the opportunity to play with the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Laura Schwendinger.
Originally from Frisco, TX, Pedro earned his Bachelor's of Music in Clarinet performance at The University of North Texas, Denton TX. During this time, he began to teach music privately. He is currently teaching at Patrick Marsh Middle School, Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School, Middleton High School, as well as coaching chamber music for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra. His professors of clarinet include Dr. James Gillespie, Dr. Kimberly Cole-Luevano, and Dr. Linda Bartley, while his chamber music coaches include Professors Martha Fischer, Uri Vardi, and Marc Vallon.
Brian Grimm graduated with honors from Butler University (IN), earning a Bachelor of Music Composition; with additional studies in jazz, cello performance & traditional Chinese music. Since graduating, BCG has found a niche composing and performing scores for dance and theatre. A frequent collaborator in Madison's experimental music scene, he “...produces adept and twisted instrumental hip-hop."
In performances with Julian Lynch’s band and various jazz and improvisational groups around town, Grimm draws on both formal music studies and avant-garde extremes” (Arts Extract Podcast, 2014). For over a decade, Brian has been passionately learning music traditions from around the world. His brother AJ Grimm studied flamenco guitar in Granada, Spain. This has played a key role in their composition process as The Brothers Grimm. In fact, they grew up with a variety of Chinese instruments in their house, shipped to them when their oldest brother lived in Tianjin, China. It wasn't until college that Brian's Chinese music studies were officially jumpstarted by Yang Wei (pipa) & DaXun Zhang (contrabass) of the Silk Road Ensemble. BCG went on to study erhu, guqin, pipa, daruan, & qinqin with members of Wuji Ensemble, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, & Dr. SheungPing Lai at HKIEd in Hong Kong. Brian currently teaches cello & jazz at Monroe Street Arts Center and Prairie Music Academy. He leads all-ages workshops in free improvisation techniques, with an approach that uses 'conversation' as the primary model. In conjunction with performing over 100 shows a year, Brian runs a label called GrimmusiK Records (www.grimmusik.com). Much to his delight, he is now studying North Indian Classical music on cello with sitar master, Pandit Sugato Nag (Kolkata, West Bengal, India).
As a pianist since elementary school, Kyle D. Johnson has devoted most of his life to music. Born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, he is now based in Madison, WI, as a doctoral candidate at the UW-Madison. Kyle's performance experience includes concerts with the Boston New Music Initiative, the Longitude Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Clocks In Motion, the Sound Out Loud ensemble (as co-founder), and many solo recitals and masterclass appearances throughout the U.S. He has been a fellow at the Brevard Music Festival (Brevard, NC), New England Conservatory's Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (Boston, MA), Pianofest in the Hamptons (East Hampton, NY), Chautauqua Music Festival (Chautauqua, NY) and the Aldeburgh Festival (Aldeburgh, England). As a pianist body double, his hands are featured in the movie Stoker, starring Nicole Kidman (score by Philip Glass, released March 2013). Past teaching instruction has come from Robert Marler, Hugh Hinton, Christopher Taylor, with extra guidance from Peter Serkin, Paul Schenly, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and Tamara Stefanovich. Kyle is currently producing a podcast series that revolves around Messiaen, art-science duality, and Catalogue d’Oiseaux. For more information, please visit: www.kyledjohnson.weebly.com
Satoko Hayami is active both as a solo and collaborative pianist, performing in venues such as Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in D.C., Millers Outdoor Theater in Houston, TX, Harris Hall in Aspen, CO, and Cleveland Museum of Arts as well as in unconventional performance spaces such as art galleries, bars, juvenile detention centers, elementary schools and hospitals. As an advocate of collaborative piano, she extensively collaborates with varieties of instruments and voices in various musical settings in different styles. Her chamber music coaches include members of the Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, Cavani Quartet and Pro Arte Quartet.
Currently, Satoko is a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate in Collaborative Piano at University of Wisconsin - Madison under the mentorship of Martha Fischer, where Satoko is a recipient of Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Fellowship. She gained a Master of Music degree in Piano Chamber Music & Accompanying at Rice University in 2014, having already received a master’s degree in Collaborative Piano from the Cleveland Institute of Music in both programs as a student of Virginia Weckstrom. She participated in numerous summer music festivals including Aspen Music Festival & School, Banff Summer Festival in Canada and Corsi Internazionali di Musica in Urbino, Italy. As a music teacher, she had a private piano studio of more than 50 students in Houston, also taught Yamaha Music Education System’s group classes.